By LOIS KINDLE
Everywhere we look these days, we see faces glued to cell phones, tablets or laptops, and these include children as young as toddler age. It seems as if technology is taking over the world.
One Riverview mother is trying to do something about it.
Kylen Ribeiro and her business partner, Michelle Zofrea, have co-written Henry’s Tech-Free Trip, a book about a young boy so mesmerized by his tablet, he thinks he simply can’t do without it – even during a family camping trip that’s been deemed technology-free by his parents.
The story is based on Ribeiro’s experience with her 7-year-old son Vincent and his use of electronics.
“Through research we found kids are more vulnerable to the effects of electronics than adults,” she said. Their bodies are smaller and still developing, and their tissue is more conductive, which enables signals, such as cell, Wi-Fi and 5G, to go further into their bodies.”
“Overexposure affects their attention span, mood, memory and focus,” Zofrea added. “It increases anxiety and irritability, exacerbates ADHD and raises cortisol levels, which leads to chronic inflammation in the body, and chronic inflammation can lead to many forms of chronic disease.
“This generation was born into technology from day one,” she added. “It’s a whole new world now, so awareness is essential. The idea behind the book is to bring awareness about the effects of technology and the importance of taking time away from screens.”
“We’re not trying to scare kids [or their parents] in the book,” she said. “We want children to recognize how they feel when they’re overexposed. We’re promoting digital wellness through the balanced use of technology.”
On Nov. 30 Ribeiro and Zofrea were asked to read Henry’s Tech-Free Trip to a group of 55 students, ages 6 to 12, at Riverview Montessori School at Rivercrest, where Vincent is a student.
The school’s owner, Rohini Rustogi, and executive director, Hitika Hira, felt the presentation made a positive impression on the kids.
“We want children to enjoy the simple pleasures in life without the constant use of technology,” Rustogi said. “They were mesmerized by [the book’s] message.”
Following the reading, which included Vincent and both authors, the students had the opportunity to comment or ask questions.
Ribeiro and Zofrea then donated 60 books to the school.
If you’d like a copy of the book, which is colorfully illustrated by Morgan Jennings, visit henrystechfreetrip.com/. It’s available in both hard and soft copy.
About the authors
Kylen Ribeiro is CEO and Michelle Zofrea COO of DefenderShield, a company founded by DeBaun that makes products protecting people from the emissions of cell phones and other electronics, including Wi-Fi and 5G. These include Lightbody, the world’s first line of digital wellness supplements, and Ultra Armor, a line of privacy and security products designed to protect against digital hacking and tracking.